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Egypt's Shura Council elections kick off

About 25 million Egyptians are expected to cast their vote in the first post-Mubarak Shura Council (upper house) elections starting this Sunday morning

Ahram Online, Sunday 29 Jan 2012
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Shura Council elections commenced on Sunday
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The first phase of the Shura Council (the upper, consultative house of Egypt’s parliament) elections commenced in 13 governorates at 8am Sunday morning, the start of the work week.

About 25 million Egyptians are expected to cast their vote, choosing from among 90 candidates.

The council will have 270 seats of whom 180 would be elected directly while the remaining 90 would be appointed by the head of state for a period of six years.

Shura Council elections will be held in two stages, with the first on 29/30 January and the second on 14/15 February. First-stage runoffs will be held on 7 February and second-stage run-offs on 22 February.

Shura Council elections: Conducted over two stages. Run-off elections are held a week later between front-runners in constituencies where none of the candidates has secured at least 50 per cent of the total vote.

Polling dates: Shura council elections begin on 29 January and end on 22 February.

Shura Council elections stage #1:

• Polling: 29-30 January; Run-offs: 7 February

• In: Cairo, Alexandria, Gharbiya, Daqahaliya , Menoufiya, Damietta, North Sinai, South Sinai, Fayoum, Assiut, Qena, the Red Sea and New Valley (Al-Wadi Al-Gedid)

Shura Council elections stage #2:

• Polling: 14-15 February; Run-offs: 22 February

• In: Giza, Qalioubiya, Sharqiya, Beheira, Kafr El-Sheikh, Ismailiya, Port Said, Suez, Marsa Matrouh, Beni Suef, Minya, Sohag, Luxor and Aswan

Shura Council opening session: 28 February

People’s Assembly total membership: 508 (10 seats less than the outgoing Assembly whose number stood at 518)

            Number of elected seats: 498

            Number of seats appointed by president (SCAF): 10

Assembly seats elected via proportional representation list system: 332 from 46 constituencies

Assembly seats elected via individual candidacy system: 166 from 83 constituencies

Shura Council total membership: 270 (six seats more than the outgoing Shura Council whose number stood at 264)

            Number of elected seats: 180

            Number of seats appointed by president (SCAF): 90

Shura Council seats elected via proportional representation list system: 120 from 30 constituencies

Shura Council seats elected via individual candidacy system: 60 from 30 constituencies

Number of candidates running for People’s Assembly individual candidacy seats: 6,591 competing for 166 seats

Number of candidates running for Shura Council individual candidacy seats: 2,036 competing for 60 seats

Total number of candidates running for individual candidacy seats in both houses: 8,627 for 226 seats

Number of party (or party-coalition) lists competing for People’s Assembly proportional representation seats: 590 lists for 332 seats

Number of party (or party-coalition) lists competing for Shura Council proportional representation seats: 272 lists for 130 seats

(Figures released by Supreme Electoral Commission on 25 October 2011)

Election monitoring:

The Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) is tasked with supervising and monitoring parliamentary elections from beginning to end.

According to the most recent amendments of the 1956’s law on exercise of political rights, SEC is made up of purely judicial members (eleven members). The head of the SEC is Abdel-Moez Ibrahim, chairman of Cairo’s Appeal Court.

The 1956 political rights law entrusted the SEC with 16 roles and powers, on top of which are exercising full control of elections, regulating their performance and ensuring that they are entirely supervised and monitored by judges (a judge for every ballot box).

The SEC is also entrusted with selecting polling and vote-counting stations, preparing voter lists, regulating and supervising election campaigns in a way that should uphold the ban on raising religious and racial slogans and symbols.

Offenders of SEC’s regulations on election campaigns are subject to face prison sentences up to 15 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to LE200,000.

Election spending limits:

The SEC has placed a LE500,000 ceiling on campaign expenditure for independent candidates, and LE1 million for party lists.

International monitoring of the election:

SEC’s chairman Abdel-Moez has stated that international monitors and media were welcome to take part in “following” – rather than officially “observing” – the upcoming parliamentary election.

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